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Stroke Warning Signs

Signs & Symptoms To Know

Someone experiencing a stroke may have one or more of the following:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg - especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache

In the case that a sudden stroke occurs, the National Stroke Association recommends this quick reference guide for recognizing stroke:

F= face

Ask the patient to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A = arms

Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S = speech

Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.

Do they have trouble talking? Are the words slurred?

T = time

Call 911 right away.

Risk Factors

The following risk factors can't be changed:

  • Age - older than 55
  • Heredity (Family History) and Race - African-Americans have a higher risk
  • Gender - men have a higher risk
  • Prior stroke, TIA, or heart attack

The following risk factors can be changed, treated, or controlled:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Cigarette Smoking
  • High Cholesterol
  • Carotid or Other Artery Disease
  • Other Heart Diseases
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Diet
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Physical Inactivity and Obesity

911 EMS Activation: Crucial To Getting the Help You Need

  • Multiple symptoms do not have to occur. Don't ignore signs of a stroke, even if they go away.
  • Check the time. When did the first warning sign or symptom begin? You, or the person accompanying you, will be asked this important question later. This is vital: if you are within 3 hours of when your symptoms begin, a clot busting drug can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.
  • If you have one or more stroke symptoms lasting more than a few minutes, immediately call 9-1-1 or the EMS so an ambulance can quickly be sent for you.
    Do not drive yourself.
  • If you're with someone who may be experiencing stroke symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1 or the EMS. Expect the person to resist going to the hospital. Don't take "no" for an answer because "Time Lost Is Brain Lost".
  • When communicating with the EMS or the hospital, make sure to use the word "STROKE".